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Wheels within Wheels

I use a Logitech MX300 mouse, which has a scroll wheel. The scroll wheel doesn’t work with all my applications. Do you know why, and whether there is a workaround?— Eric Drachman

The fault lies with your applications, not with the mouse. Not all applications include the code that would allow them to accept input from a mouse’s scroll wheel. Adobe’s Acrobat Reader 5, for example, doesn’t respond to a scroll wheel, while version 6 does.

To work around this problem, download a copy of Alessandro Levi Montalcini’s $20 universal USB driver for mice and game pads, USB Overdrive. Although you don’t need this utility’s primary service—making an incompatible mouse work with a Mac—it will let you assign commands such as scroll up and scroll down to your mouse’s scroll wheel (or at least page up and page down if the application refuses to respond to the scroll commands).

Song Saving

When I recently opened an MP3 file in iTunes, all my music and playlists had disappeared. I found my music in the Documents folder and imported it back into iTunes, but all my playlists are still missing. How can I recover them?— Jeremy Hahn

It sounds as though you have a corrupted iTunes 4 Music Library file. To fix it, quit iTunes, open your iTunes folder (stored by default in your user folder’s Music folder), and drag any iTunes Music Library files to the Trash. (You may have more than one of these files if you’ve used older versions of iTunes with this computer.)

Now drag the iTunes Music Library.xml file to the desktop. Launch iTunes and choose Import from the File menu. Navigate to the iTunes Music Library.xml file on the desktop and click on Choose. Importing this file should cause your playlists to appear in iTunes.

If you have an iPod that contains the playlists from your Mac, you can also use a utility such as CrispSofties’ iPod.iTunes (30 euros, or about $37 at press time). In addition to copying music files from an iPod to your Mac, iPod.iTunes will synchronize playlists between the two. If you’ve lost the playlists on your computer, iPod.iTunes should be able to restore them from the copy stored on your iPod.

Phony Contacts

I have a new Motorola V600 Bluetooth-enabled phone. My PowerBook G4 can see the phone and pair to it using a Bluetooth adapter, but iSync won’t recognize it. If Bluetooth can see the phone, isn’t there some tweak to get iSync to see it as well?— Ricky P. Clay

Currently, no. But there are a couple of ways to move contacts to phones that don’t have iSync support. The first is to use Antonio Ferraioli’s $10 OnSync. OnSync allows you to move contacts from OS X’s Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Qualcomm Eudora, and Now Contact (part of Now Up-to-Date & Contact) to the V600 and other phones. (However, OnSync doesn’t support calendar events of any kind.)

Your other option is to use Address Book’s Send These Cards command. Just pair your phone to your PowerBook; then, in Address Book, select the contacts you want to transfer to the phone, and choose Send These Cards from Address Book’s Card menu (see screenshot). In short order, your phone will ask you to accept the transfer. Do so and store your contacts.

Nicer Webcast

I listen to broadcasts of the New York Metropolitan Opera using a Web browser and would like to play them through my AirPort Express. Is there a way to do this?— Joe Forbes

Yes—with a copy of Rogue Amoeba’s $40 Nicecast. Launch your Web browser and begin playing the broadcast. Launch Nicecast; in the Source pane, select your browser via the Select pop-up menu. Click on Nicecast’s Start Broadcast button. To keep the broadcast from playing through both your Mac’s speakers and your stereo, move Nicecast’s volume slider all the way to the left.

Launch iTunes and select your AirPort Express from the AirPort Express pop-up menu at the bottom of the iTunes window. Select Open Stream from the Advanced menu; in the resulting Open Stream window, enter
and click on OK. The audio from your browser should now stream to the AirPort Express and through your stereo.

Playlists and Pictures

Can iPhoto play more than one song in a slide presentation?— Douglas W. Matheson

iPhoto will happily play multiple tunes when you create a slide show that plays within iPhoto. Just click on the Slideshow button, click on the Music tab in the resulting Slideshow window, and select a playlist from the Source pop-up menu. If you’ve left the Repeat Slideshow option under the Settings tab enabled, the slide show plays throughout the length of the playlist you’ve chosen.

Saving a slide show as a QuickTime movie is another matter. Exported slide shows will contain only one audio track. There’s a way around this, but it’s more than a bit tiresome. You must combine multiple audio tracks into a single track and then create a slide show whose length matches the duration of your soundtrack.

To do this, launch iMovie, create a new iMovie project, click on iMovie’s Audio tab, and drag audio files from your iTunes library into the timeline. Then choose Share from the File menu, click on the QuickTime tab, and choose Expert Setting from the Compress Movie For pop-up menu. Click on Share. In the Save Exported File As dialog box, choose Sound To AIFF from the Export pop-up menu; then click on Save. Now drag the resulting file into iTunes.

Once in iTunes, make a note of the file’s length. Return to iPhoto, select the album you’d like to export as a QuickTime movie slide show, and choose Export from the File menu. Click on the QuickTime tab and make sure the Add Currently Selected Music To Movie option is enabled.

Simple math would tell you that if your soundtrack is, for example, 6 minutes long (360 seconds) and you have 60 slides, you should enter 6 in the Display Image For X Seconds field (which appears in the same QuickTime tab) in order for your slide show and soundtrack to end at the same time. Nuh-uh. You have to account for the fade-in and -out effects at the beginning and end of your slide show and the dissolve effect between each slide. These effects add time. The fade-in effect adds 1 second, the dissolve between each slide adds an additional 1 second per dissolve, and the fade-out effect adds 2 seconds. So, for example, if you have 50 slides and you’ve configured iPhoto to show each slide for 2 seconds, the resulting movie will be 2 minutes and 32 seconds long (100 seconds for the slides plus 52 seconds for the effects). Break out your calculator and accordingly adjust the length of time each slide displays.

[ When not assisting afflicted Mac users, Christopher Breen is the editor in chief of and the author of Secrets of the iPod , fifth edition (Peachpit Press, 2004). ]

Is your phone iSync-phobic? Address Book provides a way to move your contacts.
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